One of Joe Gibbs’s coaching tics was his extreme willingness to shoulder the blame when things went badly. I mean, he did it all the time.
After the Redskins lost to the Bills in the two-timeout Sean Taylor game, Gibbs said “It’s my fault.” After they had a horrible record in the third year of his comeback, he said “Last season was awful. Period. That’s my fault.” After a penalty-filled loss to the Colts in 2006, he said “That’s my responsibility, all those things are.” After a preseason loss in 2004, Gibbs wanted reporters to blame him, saying “I have to have everybody ready to play. It all starts with me.”
Whether it was actually his fault most of those times was irrelevant; players seemed to appreciate the way he would try to monopolize the blame.
Anyhow, Davey Johnson went full-on Gibbs Thursday night, after keeping Livan Hernandez in the game as the Cubs erased most of an eight-run lead. During this three-minute clip of Johnson talking to the media, he said the loss was his fault three separate times.
“Obviously I went too long with him,” Johnson said first. “You can put that one up in my corner. I’ll take full responsibility for that one.”
“My bullpen was a little bit beat up and I had confidence in Livo to give me six,” he said a few seconds later. “I’ll take full blame.”
“I had all the confidence in the world with Livo,” he said seconds later. “Obviously I had too much confidence in him.”
“I said a few words [in the clubhouse] and I’ll say a few more,” he said seconds later. “But that one you can chalk up to me.”
“That one’s a tough one,” he said in response to a question about his offense. “I’m gonna have a hard time sleeping tonight on that one.”
I mean, that’s an awful lot of blame acceptance for a loss in early July. Jayson Werth sort of laughed when told that Johnson said he’d have a hard time sleeping.
“I mean, hopefully he won’t take it too hard,” Werth said. “This is a long season. We’ve got a long way to go. Obviously I can see how this one’s tough to swallow, but big picture, I think we’ve got a lot to look forward to.”
And I’m sure that’s a question Werth would much rather answer than “So, you were booed again, huh?” Or “taking another called third strike, eh?” Which is probably why managers and coaches say things like “I’ll take full blame.”